James

year: Freshman from: Rhode Island

The classes are demanding and stimulating. They’ve already challenged me to think about old ideas in new ways

When school started, I remember walking into the lunch room and immediately thinking, where do I sit? Starting over in a new place and meeting new people can be nerve-racking. But the nervousness passes quickly because you’re here all the time, so you make friends really quickly. The people here are supportive and fun. Now, when my friends and I are studying or doing homework and need to re-energize, we put on music and have little dance parties in the classrooms, or if it’s clear that night we’ll go stargazing.

What drew me to Putney? When I first visited the campus, I saw Wender and thought, Wow, that is a beautiful building! The art facilities are amazing, which were a big draw for me. I’m in ceramics now, and for spring project week I’d like to do a nature journal, taking the best drawings to make them into larger etchings. I’m excited to develop my skills in visual arts here at Putney. The classes are demanding and stimulating. They’ve already challenged me to think about old ideas in new ways. In Humans in the Natural World, I’m doing a project on ivory as a world commodity, and specifically unearthing mammoth ivory as an alternative to elephant tusks—it’s gotten me to think deeply about a complex issue and how to find a balance between so many tradeoffs.

I came to Putney from a more traditional school in Providence, Rhode Island, which was a lot less progressive than here. Social justice and activism are pretty big priorities for me. At my old school, I led a discussion group that covered social justice topics. Even though not every single person here has social activism as their highest priority, there’s a lot going on that I’ve gotten involved in. On Martin Luther King Jr. day we had a bunch of workshops, and a group of us went to Montpelier for a women’s march and rally. I try to go to as many meetings of Diversity Committee and Spectrum Committee as I can. I feel like there’s a lot of space at Putney for discussion, and I hope to get even more involved and active so that I can become a sort of community leader as I grow here.